We all know that awful feeling when the computer does something weird, or worse, just freezes and wont respond. I have had kittens realising that the technology I am so dependent upon has let me down.
At times like this, you need a friendly expert…someone who knows they have to act quickly, explain simply and not charge the earth.
Wel,l I think I have found such a person in Andrew from Resolve Computing.
Based in Newcastle Emlyn and living in Wales for over 19 years Andrew knows exactly how frustrating technology can be when it goes wrong. Having worked in computing since the early 80’s he has a wealth of experience and prides himself on supporting home users and businesses with all their computing needs across the whole of West Wales.
“I am not about selling apps and gadgets to people.” Andrew assures me. “I see my role as helping people to make the best of their computing experience.”
And to do that Andrew’s many years of working in maintenance means he can quickly diagnose what has gone wrong and put it right. He also advises on security of course and on general use and maintenance.
Originally from Sheffield, Andrew moved about, living where the work took him, but eventually, city life with endless traffic jams and noise, lost its appeal.
“Someone I knew offered me a holiday place for 6 months so I jumped at the chance, took a job in Cardigan as an I.T manager for a few years and eventually settled in Newcastle Emlyn.
“My wife and I love sea food, so for several years we made ‘Pembrokeshire Fish Week’ our annual holiday. We got to know places like Solva, Broadhaven, and Newgale. I love the peace of Pembrokeshire, the castles, standing stones, and ancient monuments. It’s a lovely friendly place too. We don’t need to go on holiday anywhere else now we live here.”
So many people who work in computing don’t seem so good with communicating. Andrew doesn’t have that problem.
“I used to be that Geek,” he laughs. Somehow I can’t imagine Andrew as that person. He is very approachable.
I have always been a calm laid back sort of person, and I really enjoy meeting customers and finding out what their computing needs are. We are all different. My wife’s computer is very simple for example . She has it set up to do just what she needs to do with it. I, on the other hand I love all the bells and whistles. I take time to find out what peoples requirements are and advise them , as simply as I can how to get what they want.”
What about viruses? Are we doing enough to protect our computers?
Most computers have anti virus installed these days. Unfortunately they aren’t always working. I always check the health of the computer but its not like it was in the 90’s. Viruses in the 90s wrecked computer but now its software that slows computer down. It’s not a major problem. Most computers have some protection. People can be spoofed though. It is so easy to be conned and customers are often really embarrassed. I never make judgments.”
What are the main kinds of problems you have to deal with?
“Oh it’s a variety of problems. Every day is different. It really can be anything. People tend to store things up and there will be a number of issues they want me to deal with when I arrive. The most common thing is that people are afraid or embarrassed and will often carry on when they know something isn’t right. It’s better to contact me right away to ensure the computer is not compromised if you think something is wrong. Computers are great when they are working and people need simple solutions when they aren’t.”
“One curious case was the disco mouse. Someone in a large office building had recently moved and was convinced that every time the guy on the floor below played his music, her mouse pointer would start to dance on the screen. I had to visit to see it myself. Once there, there was, of course, no music, but I sat at her desk and started to check things out. I looked for virus infections or signs of other software that shouldn’t be there as this is often the cause of strange behaviour. But all seemed normal until I took my hand away from the mouse and saw the pointer start to move by itself. Strange! But no music – so it didn’t look like it was dancing. Putting my hand back on the mouse stopped the odd behaviour. After a little more time experimenting, the answer became clear. The sun had just started to shine in through her window and, as she had a rather cheap mouse with thin plastic, the sunshine was making its way to the inside mechanism and confusing the optical sensors, making it think that the mouse was being moved, so the pointer would jiggle around. Covering the mouse with my hand stopped the problem. So, the fix was, replace it with a better quality mouse – resulting in no more dancing. And the music? It seems that the gentleman downstairs was provoked by the appearance of the sun into playing his music!”
“I once went to an office where their main computer was running very slowly and was making a loud noise. It out as it sounded like an aircraft taking off and was very sluggish so I switched it off and, after disconnecting all the wires, took it outside. I could already tell it needed a good clean from the carpet of fur covering the vents. Inside was a similar layer of hair over everything. Judicious use of a clean paintbrush and blasts from a can of compressed air soon filled the back yard with fluff and left the computer shining like new. I switched it on to find it so quiet the customer didn’t believe it was running and it was appreciably faster, much to their delight. Computers don’t do well in heat and need to be kept free of fluff, fur and any other things that can block their air flow.”
“Another thing…..I always tell people, don’t click on stuff you aren’t sure about. That’s the way most infections come through. Those cyber links bypass the checks the computer has in place. If you are not sure … don’t click, check.”
Anything else we ought to do?
“I always talk about back-up. Losing files causes so much pain. Always back-up your files. There is a lot of different back-up software that will help you and some of this is free. Just ask yourself, how much will it hurt if you lost everything?”
So those are the two most simple things one can do to protect your computer and your work, backing up and not clicking on stuff you aren’t sure of?
“That’s about it, but I am very happy to help and can visit people at home or in the office often at quite short notice. I also work on weekends and evening. When you have a problem you usually want it sorted really quickly. I understand that.”
“I recently had a call from holiday park near Narberth that needed to be resolved very quickly. They had guests about to arrive and the system was down. I got the system fixed and up and running before customers arrived for the bank holiday.”
Andrew is also part of a Networking The Business Network page is CCPBusinessNetwork (https://www.facebook.com/CCPBusinessNetwork) and it meets on the first Wednesday of the month at 7:30 (for 8am start) at the Emlyn Arms. He recommends it wholeheartedly to anyone wanting to make business connections in the Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire (CCP) areas.
He also found Business Wales to have been very helpful while setting up and running his own business – https://businesswales.gov.wales/starting-up/ is a good place to start, but they also offer free workshops (https://wales.business-events.org.uk/) on a large number of business-related subjects that he also thoroughly recommend.
Resolve Computing charges a flat rate £35 an hour plus travel which is nominal and agreed. They offer a business contract for small businesses who want I.T. problems dealt with quickly and efficiently.
Email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Mobile is 07092 238 140
The Business Network page is CCPBusinessNetwork